• ThinkingMatt
    36
    In order to survive, we need the bare minimum of oxygen, water, food and shelter. When our body is lacking one or more of these four things, our mind creates uncomfortable feelings such as suffocation, thirst, hunger and being hot or cold. It does this as a way to ensure the body maintains a healthy continuation of its life. If our actions and behaviors are an indicator that suggest what the purpose of our lives is, then it becomes quite obvious to identify it. Some mistakenly suggest that the purpose of life is to experience happiness. Most think it is at the root of what drives a lot of our choices and behaviors. Where instead, happiness basically describes a sensation that can be derived right down to our four necessities of life being met.

    A basic example could be trying to get a promotion at work. Being promoted insinuates an increase in pay ($). Having money ensures access to food, water and shelter (these are three out of the four necessities being met). Having more money means you can sustain these necessities for a longer period of time. In affect this creates a sustainable means of continuing your life and your mind pumps chemicals into your brain that make it feel happy. Your brain rewards you with this addictive feeling of happiness as tactic to encourage you to continue engaging in behaviors that aid in sustaining the life of your body and therefore your mind.

    When you focus right down to it, every single behavior and action conducted by not only humans but all living things can be sourced right down to a mechanism just to sustain the continuation of life.

    If this logic is true, then our purpose as living things is purely to sustain our life and future life. With that I leave you not asking what the purpose of life is, but instead, ‘what is the purpose of continuing the life of all living things?’
  • schopenhauer1
    3.2k

    Bingo, you hit on Schopenhauer's point. You do to do to do to do.. instrumentality.. to do just to do because survival and boredom mediated through goal-oriented action keep you going.
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    You can choose to be a carpenter.

    You can choose to be a painter.

    You can choose to be a desk-job worker.

    You can choose to be a scientist.

    You can choose to be a philosopher.

    But all of this gravitates around the choice to continue to be. You exist, but why do you continue to exist? Presumably because it gives you satisfaction, or at least because you fear death and/or have not really considered life to be a form of momentum. And that's about it really.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.7k
    Ii wasn't going to say anything, but this subject comes up so often here that it seems worthwhile to give a general answer:

    To all of you Materialists, Physicalists, "Naturalists", Science-Worshippers, Atheists, etc., who are ridden with existential angst and despair about your belief in life's meaninglessness and purposelessness:

    Of course your angst and despair are an artifact of your above-listed beliefs.

    I'm not saying that everyone with those beliefs expresses angst and despair about them, but significantly-many do.

    Of course you have a right to cling to those beliefs.

    Of course that means that you're clinging to your angst and despair.

    But (can we be honest?) you enjoy it.

    And it's your pass-word to admission in a philosophical or Scientificist elite.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    mind pumps chemicals into your brain that make it feel happyThinkingMatt

    No, your brain pumps chemicals into your body. Minds pumping any kind of physical matter is incoherent.

    When you focus right down to it, every single behavior and action conducted by not only humans but all living things can be sourced right down to a mechanism just to sustain the continuation of life.ThinkingMatt

    This is demonstrably false. There are probably an infinite number of human actions that are not conducive to living. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Human beings are a rather risky species of animal.

    then our purpose as living things is purely to sustain our life and future lifeThinkingMatt

    I don't think you've proven this. You've merely pointed out a fact about our nature and then declared that fact our purpose. I think you're missing several steps to reach that conclusion.

    but instead, ‘what is the purpose of continuing the life of all living things?’ThinkingMatt

    A nonsensical question. No one person can continue the life of all living things.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Tons of stuff people do that has nothing to do with the continuation of life. How about a good movie it the Super Bowl?
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    You exist, but why do you continue to exist? Presumably because it gives you satisfaction, or at least because you fear death and/or have not really considered life to be a form of momentum. And that's about it really.darthbarracuda

    Or perhaps for reasons other than these. Why do you insist on being a mind reader here? And surely you're open to a tu quoque reply: "If you're trying to suggest that my reasons to continue to living are bad reasons, but they're the only reasons there can be for living, according to you, then why do you continue to live? It must be for those same bad reasons, so why are you asking me something to which you already know the answer? Are you wanting me to commit suicide? But if you don't yourself commit suicide, then why should I believe that you're right about the reasons there are for living, since they clearly aren't convincing enough for you?"
  • schopenhauer1
    3.2k
    Good points..I thought of these objections but gave him the benefit of the doubt that the clarity of language was secondary to what he was trying to get with a lot of charity.

    Generally speaking, we get caught up in any number of goals. To get caught up is what we do. To hit the limit of existential thinking is to hit an error of sorts. Cultural contingencies give us the content to get caught up in.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    Right, but the unstated punch line is that you and the OP cast normative judgment on the hedonic treadmill just described. You think it's a bad thing and that it entails anti-natalism. I agree that a culturally reinforcing biological stimulus and response system exists and can be wearisome and agree that anti-natalism follows from it if that's all human beings are, but I don't think that's all we are, because I'm not a materialist. These threads merely prove that materialism is a pretty shitty philosophy if true. But I don't think it's true, and not because I'm trying to avoid its depressing consequences.
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    When you focus right down to it, every single behavior and action conducted by not only humans but all living things can be sourced right down to a mechanism just to sustain the continuation of life....ThinkingMatt

    ...if you view life through the prism of evolutionary biology.
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    I think an intriguing point about all of this is that now evolutionary biology has been accepted as the kind of secular/scientific equivalent of 'a creation myth', that it carries with it many often unstated connotations and assumptions. To be clear, I am not for one minute aligned with any school or form of creationism or intelligent design, in fact any overtly biblical form of religion. But notice how many people turn up on forums with exactly this question! It's definitely a cultural phenomenon, IMO.

    None of which means anything like 'rejecting evolution'. One of my favourite books from a few years back was 'Your Inner Fish' which shows the trajectory of evolution from ancient fossil fish to, well, yours truly. I think one of the awe-inspiring things about evolution is ones' kinship with other creatures.

    But the philosophical horizon of Darwinism is so narrow. Some of that is from Darwin himself, who was not in the least philosophically-inclined, but rather more of it is from the combination of that with Enlightenment scientific rationalism and the construction of evolution as being 'science as opposed to religion'. But that is blatantly reductionist, in that it reduces what is unique to the human condition (as distinct from species) to a function of biology or neurology or some combination of the two. And to question that, is then to be automatically characterised as ID - whether you are or not.
  • WISDOMfromPO-MO
    753
    I think an intriguing point about all of this is that now evolutionary biology has been accepted as the kind of secular/scientific equivalent of 'a creation myth', that it carries with it many often unstated connotations and assumptions. To be clear, I am not for one minute aligned with any school or form of creationism or intelligent design, in fact any overtly biblical form of religion. But notice how many people turn up on forums with exactly this question! It's definitely a cultural phenomenon, IMO.

    None of which means anything like 'rejecting evolution'. One of my favourite books from a few years back was 'Your Inner Fish' which shows the trajectory of evolution from ancient fossil fish to, well, yours truly. I think one of the awe-inspiring things about evolution is ones' kinship with other creatures.

    But the philosophical horizon of Darwinism is so narrow. Some of that is from Darwin himself, who was not in the least philosophically-inclined, but rather more of it is from the combination of that with Enlightenment scientific rationalism and the construction of evolution as being 'science as opposed to religion'. But that is blatantly reductionist, in that it reduces what is unique to the human condition (as distinct from species) to a function of biology or neurology or some combination of the two. And to question that, is then to be automatically characterised as ID - whether you are or not.
    Wayfarer




    People do not even stop to empathize with or listen to the religious fundamentalists they mock or to ask what are the historical and sociological antecedents of such fundamentalists' anti-Darwinism.

    This is just one example--and there are probably plenty more to be found--of what people would find if they stopped, empathized, listened and/or did a little research: in Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism Richard H. Robbins shows how Protestant fundamentalism in the U.S. was an early-20th-century response to the expansion of capitalism. If capitalists need cheap labor and are therefore undermining your families and communities by recruiting women to work outside of the home, then people using things like literal interpretations of the Bible to resist that encroachment should not be seen as anything unusual.

    But rather than seeing it as an understandable response to an unwelcome encroachment by overpowering forces, the bashers of anti-Darwinists see it as backwards, irrational, bigoted, uneducated rednecks impeding "progress".

    It may be a secular "creation myth", like you say.

    But there is also evidence that it is, ironically, its own form of bigotry that blinds its adherents to the plights of certain groups of people and undermines solidarity against forces that are harming all groups.
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    What strikes me, is the unending stream of folks who turn up on philosophy forums - and I've been on them since 2009 - with posts just like this OP. It's because of taking biological theory to be something it isn't, namely, a philosophy. It's not that complicated.
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    Why do you insist on being a mind reader hereThorongil

    Not mind reading but by studying human psychology which is close enough. Most people live out of habit or because they fear death. There's really no "decision" to live usually.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    Where instead, happiness basically describes a sensation that can be derived right down to our four necessities of life being met.ThinkingMatt

    The conditions you describe are necessary for life. However, as is obvious from the fact that you're in a philosophy forum, these conditions by themselves aren't sufficient for life. There's something extra that is required - the thirst for knowledge, the hunger for meaning/purpose, the shelter of a holistic worldview, etc.

    A basic example could be trying to get a promotion at work.ThinkingMatt

    Read above.

    When you focus right down to it, every single behavior and action conducted by not only humans but all living things can be sourced right down to a mechanism just to sustain the continuation of lifeThinkingMatt

    Read above.

    If this logic is true,ThinkingMatt

    It's not false but it is incomplete.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    There's really no "decision" to live usually.darthbarracuda

    But can there be?
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    I mean sure you can "choose" to live but really what that means is that you choose to procrastinate your suicide.

    Trying to find a real reason to live is an exercise in excuse-making. We all do it cause we're weak willed. Pretending otherwise is obnoxious tbh.

    There's something twisted yet satisfying in showing people's reasons to live to be empty and shallow. It's twisted because you make them suffer but it's satisfying to see a false idol crumble. It's as if a reason to live is to show that there is no reason to live. mhm
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    I mean sure you can "choose" to live but really what that means is that you choose to procrastinate your suicide.darthbarracuda

    So every death is a suicide?

    We all do it cause we're weak willed.darthbarracuda

    Weak-willed as opposed to what?

    There's something twisted yet satisfying in showing people's reasons to live to be empty and shallow.darthbarracuda

    How is the word "satisfied" predicated in that sentence?
  • ThinkingMatt
    36
    what is the purpose of continuing the life of all living things?’ThinkingMatt

    @Thorongil
    Your response
    A nonsensical question. No one person can continue the life of all living thingsThorongil

    What I meant buy this is the fact that we keep alive long enough to reproduce and create the next generation - hence 'continuing the life of all living things'.
    My question is, what is the purpose of continuing this cycle?
  • ThinkingMatt
    36
    When you focus right down to it, every single behavior and action conducted by not only humans but all living things can be sourced right down to a mechanism just to sustain the continuation of life.ThinkingMatt

    This is demonstrably false. There are probably an infinite number of human actions that are not conducive to living. JThorongil

    @Thorongil

    What's an example?
  • ThinkingMatt
    36
    @TheMadFool
    There's something extra that is required - the thirst for knowledgeTheMadFool

    The thirst for knowledge isn't a need to sustain life - learning is a mechanism to better understand our environment as a way to improve our chances of to meet the four necessities I mentioned above
  • ThinkingMatt
    36
    @schopenhauer1
    See my response to Thorongil above where I have clarified my overal question.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    The thirst for knowledge isn't a need to sustain life - learning is a mechanism to better understand our environment as a way to improve our chances of to meet the four necessities I mentioned aboveThinkingMatt

    Does knowledge of philosophy help to survive? Did Socrates survive on philosophy? I don't think so. In fact Socrates had to give up the four necessities to quench his thirst for knowledge.
  • ThinkingMatt
    36
    @TheMadFool
    Does knowledge of philosophy help to survive?TheMadFool

    Yes. Philosophy is an attempt to better understand the world around us. Doing so is advantageous as better understanding the world around you allows you to evaluate more effective or efficient means to essentially survive.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    Doing so is advantageous as better understanding the world around you allows you to evaluate more effective or efficient means to essentially survive.ThinkingMatt

    So, why isn't everybody doing philosophy?
  • ThinkingMatt
    36
    So, why isn't everybody doing philosophy?TheMadFool

    As understanding the world around you isn't the only or maybe the best tactic for continuing the cycle of life.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    As understanding the world around you isn't the only or maybe the best tactic for continuing the cycle of lifeThinkingMatt

    Yes. Philosophy is an attempt to better understand the world around us. Doing so is advantageous as better understanding the world around you allows you to evaluate more effective or efficient means to essentially survive.ThinkingMatt

    What do you mean?
  • ThinkingMatt
    36
    Yes. Philosophy is an attempt to better understand the world around us. Doing so is advantageous as better understanding the world around you allows you to evaluate more effective or efficient means to essentially survive.ThinkingMatt

    @TheMadFool

    Despite the fact that I believe this statement is true, it would be ignorant or obnoxious to say its the best means of doing so. (There is no data to suggest otherwise) it's just the best tactic i have
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